We go to the zoo a lot, so this time I told each kid to pick an animal to focus on, and we would study that particular one for this field trip. I was expecting elephants, giraffes, maybe the new baby hippo....but we got meerkats and macaws instead. Yay for creativity!
Scroll down to the bottom for your meerkats & macaws unit study resources.
Meerkats are burrowing animals that live in the desert habitats of southern Africa. They make their homes out of abandoned burrows dug by other animals. While they are day animals, they usually take a siesta during the hottest part of the day.
They live in large families, and the females are the leaders. Older family members have more influence over the family's activities. They forage for insects, small reptiles, eggs, and scorpions for their food. They don't drink much, but get their water from roots and other food.
Every family member has a job, and they all work together for survival. Some of the jobs include:
- Babysitters - watch the younger members of the family
- Sentinel - watch for danger, and use alarm calls to tell when there is danger. They have a different call for every type of predator!!
Listen to a meerkat alerting his family in our video below.
MacawsMy son took these photos before escaping into the cave at the Children's Zoo. I thought the close-up photo came out pretty well!
Macaws are the largest parrots in the world - they can be up to 33 inches long! They have featherless faces with bright colors covering most of the body, wings, and tail. They live in warm, humid climates, like the rainforest, and prefer to stay in large family groups.
They have strong beaks for breaking open hard nuts found in the rainforest. They also eat leaves, berries, and seeds. They have the ability to eat fruits that would normally be toxic to humans and animals. Some people think that it is because they also eat clay, which may neutralize the poison.
Macaws are becoming endangered because: 1) people trap them for pets and 2) the destruction of the rainforests.